Before and After Alexander

History / Biography

by Richard A. Billows
May 2018 – Duckworth-Overlook

By the author of MARATHON, an enlightening look at the historical context behind Alexander the Great, his accomplishments, and his legacy

In the arc of western history, Ancient Greece is at the apex, owing to its grandeur, its culture, and an intellectual renaissance to rival that of Europe. So important is Greece to history that figures such as Plato and Socrates are still household names, and the works of Homer are regularly adapted into movies. The most important hero of all, though, is Alexander the Great, who was not fictional in the least.

While historians have studied Alexander’s achievements at length, author and professor Richard A. Billows delves deeper into the obscure periods of Alexander’s life before and after his reign. In his definitive biography BEFORE AND AFTER ALEXANDER, Billows explores the lesser-known years of Alexander, who, without the foundation laid by his father, Philip II of Macedon, would not have had the resources or influence to develop one of the greatest empires in history.

The years following his death were even more momentous. Alexander’s unexpected demise at the age of thirty-three created such a power vacuum that it incited decades of conflict among his generals, ultimately leading to the decline of Hellenistic civilization and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Richard A. Billows is a professor at Columbia University specializing in Ancient Greek and Roman epigraphy. He is the author of Marathon: How One Battle Changed Western Civilization (translated into four languages), as well as Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State, Kings and Colonists: Aspects of Macedonian Imperialism, and Julius Caesar: The Colossus of Rome. He lives in New York City.